The Inspector is a mysterious character, who we know very little about. He comes across as a very calm and honest man. When the Inspector first appears in the play he is confronted by Mr. Birling. Mr. Birling is a very successful businessman who has “been around in local politics for years. ” Mr. Birling tries to use his social status to intimidate the Inspector, “I was an Alderman for years and Lord Mayor two years ago. ” To Mr. Birling’s pompous bullying the Inspector remains cool and is determined to find something out. At this point we do not know what. The Inspector then asks, “I’d like some information, if you don’t mind.Order now
” This leaves the audience and family wondering what does the Inspector want to know? “It’s the way I like to go to work,” the Inspector creates an impression of massiveness on the whole family. You can tell from the early stages of the play that the Inspector could find out anything he needed to know, “one person and one line of inquiry at a time. ” You get the feeling the Inspector knows what he’s doing and is quietly confident. The Inspector’s true character comes out as he reveals each character’s story one by one, just as he says. The Inspector joins the play just after Mr. Birling has been setting out his version of the future.
“I say there isn’t a chance of war,” he tells the family two years before the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand which sparked off the start of the First World War. Mr. Birling also tempts fate by saying about the Titanic, “she sails next week every luxury- and unsinkable. ” These are J. B. Priestley’s versions of dramatic irony. Throughout the play the Inspector demonstrates how people are responsible for their actions and how there actions affect the lives of others.
The Inspector expresses his thoughts and feelings in his final speech before he vanishes from the play,”we are members of one body. We are all responsible for each other. ” Without the Inspector the family’s hidden secrets would have never been revealed. Some how the Inspector knew what each character had done in their past. By asking the correct questions he makes them reveal all their stories. Like when the Inspector catches Mrs Birling out, “If he is (talking about who is Mrs. Birling’s son and also the culprit) then we know what to do, don’t we? ” Moments before that Mrs. Birling told everyone that the culprit should be made a public example.